Book Review

Where do comedians go when they die? by Milton Jones

It’s an interesting title, which was why I picked up the book. Well to be honest, I was advised to read this book, and several others, by Logan Murray, but this one jumped out at me thanks to the eye-catching name.

Where do Comedians Go When They Die? by Milton Jones

Where do Comedians Go When They Die? by Milton Jones

After reading the back I was excited as it claimed to be more about the world of comedy than another autobiography about a comic’s life. Though these are always entertaining, I find myself only getting excited when the autobiographies get into the actual ‘Stand up comedy’ part of their lives. The parts in autobiographies where the author is looking back to when they were five years old and caught eating worms in the potting shed gets slightly speed-read I’m afraid.

Right, back to the book in hand. The journey we are taken on jumps back and forth in time as well as in content, intertwining different stories and ideas all at the same time. I was never too sure what I was going to read about next, which might sound a little stressful, but it’s actually really engaging and sucks you in from the get-go. It’s as interesting as it is clever and most importantly very, very funny to read.

In fact, i’ve never read a book where I’ve found myself laughing out loud before! I was actually asked on more than one occasion to leave the room by my wife, due to me having a laughing fit! It is beautifully written and creates incredibly vivid images in the reader’s mind as if you’re actually watching a stand comedy routine unfold.

The book isn’t just about laughs and being silly, there is a more serious and moving side. You are exposed to a person’s realistic struggles and pains. Being a stand up comic is not all about fun and high fives and it certainly isn’t a walk in the park. Juggling the life of a comic and the life of a husband, father and brother, seems a lot to handle.

There is plenty of advice too, hidden within the stories, which any young comic could take note and learn from.

To succeed in this business you always have to be looking for a joke, always turning upside down, holding them up to the light, and then smashing them on the ground to see if anything funny happens. This can be quite annoying to live with, apparently.”

This is a great book, and it has given me the confidence to write in a more spontaneous way as my thoughts flow, instead of continuously editing myself, which is a habit that restricts the great ideas getting out. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, both as an aspiring comic, and as a ‘normal’ person. If you like laughing, this is one for you.

Dan Tambling is a stand-up comedian, sketch comedy writer, actor and producer of ‘12 sketches in a London house’. This is his blog.

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